The other day as I worked from my home office set up, the sun came out and the day started to heat up. I opened the window to let some air in and enjoyed listening to the quiet noises of the neighborhood- the birds chirping, squirrels antagonizing the birds, the gentle music of wind chimes rustling in the breeze.
I noticed a fly sitting on the screen- a beefy black fly, the kind that you hate to see around the house because it probably means something crawled under the house and died.
This fly caught my attention because it seemed to be yearning to go outside. I can’t verify that, but they way it was positioned, leaning forward on the screen, unmoving except for a couple attempts to back up and fly into the screen (which never budged), seemingly staring out at freedom through the imprisoning screen, it sure looked like a soul with paradise just beyond its grasp, unable to enter in due to a thin piece of unbreakable, plastic mesh. I felt a strange compassion for that fly.
Squashing black flies is tough. They are so quick that no newspaper, no swatter, nothing can seem to hit the mark. But I wondered if I could catch this fly in a mason jar and release it to freedom beyond the screen in the outside world.
I emptied the mason jar full of pens on my desk and moved swiftly to capture my little friend before it noticed.
Success! As always, it saw the danger before it struck but flew straight into the jar, unable to escape. Paper slipped over the mouth to trap it inside and slowly moved the trapped fly away from the window.
After frantically flying about for a second, it settled down to the bottom, resigned to its new fate. I knew this moment was temporary but the fly didn’t.
As I took it out of my room, down the hallway, into the living room, towards the front door, I wondered what it was thinking. As it unknowingly journeyed towards freedom, I wondered if it felt depressed, resigned, hopeless. Thinking it had been so close to freedom, even though it was never going to get there through the screen, and then suddenly completely restricted, completely helpless, completely out of control. Stuck in a new cage. I imagine in a moment like that, not knowing what’s about to come next, it would have preferred to stay on the screen forever yearning for the fresh air beyond rather than find itself in that mason jar. It was probably panicking.
Then I opened the door and released the fly into the open air and it immediately flew away.